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‘Christmas Quiz 2015’

Our final blog this year is our annual Christmas Quiz – twelve questions to take your mind off the daily market gyrations as we close out the year. We hope you enjoy the quiz and from all at Argonaut we wish you a merry Christmas and Happy New Year. (The answers can be found at the end)

1. UK brick inventories are at levels not seen since the 1980’s. With bricks being the cladding of choice for house construction in the UK, this has meant double-digit price increases for bricks in each of the last two years.  However what percentage of the overall cost of a house do bricks represent?

A 6.5%
B 1.1%
C 3.8%


2. This year’s fall in the oil price has taken most analysts by surprise which has meant that earnings expectations for this year have had to be revised down significantly from what they were at the start of the year. Currently the Brent price is at $38/bbl and the median price on the forward curve for 2018 is $54/bbl. Relative to this, what is the median price being used by analysts currently in their models for 2018?

A $54/bbl
B $62/bbl
C $74/bbl


3. This year Pfizer and Irish domiciled Allergan agreed a merger. Much has been made in the US regarding the potential tax benefits to Pfizer of such a deal, due to the low corporate tax rate in Ireland (12.5%). What is the corporate tax rate in the US

A 28%
B 40%
C 36%


4. Earlier this year “Grexit” was the word as the Greek creditors and Greece engaged in brinkmanship over Greece’s debt obligations and potential third bail-out programme.  A leading protagonist was the Syrizia finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who subsequently left office. At which university did he obtain a PhD in economics?

A University of Athens
B University of Cambridge
C University of Essex


5. Nestle is Europe’s largest listed company, whose products many of us use daily. The company is named after its founder Henri Nestle whose infant nutrition food formed the cornerstone of the company’s products. In 1868 he created the logo of a bird in her nest feeding her young. Today’s logo shows two chicks in the nest. How many were there when the logo was first designed?

A Four
B Two
C Three


6. Commodities prices (as measured in dollars) have generally been routed this year, with nickel the worst performing commodity, down over 40%. However not all commodities have fallen. Can you name the best performing commodity which is up over 15% this year?

A Cocoa
B Orange Juice
C Lead


7. New management at Standard Chartered recently raised $5.1bln and unveiled a new strategic plan to generate an 8% RoE by 2018, based on forecast revenues of $17bln. Annualising Q3 revenues and deducting those lost from future disposals implies that management are targeting what level of annual revenue growth to 2018?

A 3%
B 5%
C 8%


8. US speciality pharma company Valeant made the news for all the wrong reasons this year and caused tremors in the pharma sector. The company has been very acquisitive and earlier this year bought Sprout Pharmaceuticals for $1bln to get its hands on their Addyi drug which is the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder for premenopausal women – essentially it is the female equivalent of “Viagra”. However it seems to come with dangerous side-effects if taken whilst drinking alcohol.  The FDA cites that two small glasses of wine could…:

A Lead to liver damage
B Lead to a swollen tongue
C Put the user at risk of death


9. Next year France will host the UEFA Football Championships. Adidas is expected to benefit from this as one of the largest football related suppliers in the world. Earlier this year Adidas launched new football boot ranges after scrapping its main Predator line. Which of these names is one of them?

A Reaper
C Ghost


10. The ham and cheese panini is a well-liked hot food item across Europe. One European company sells more of these sandwiches than any other in Europe, although food sales are not what it is most known for. Can you guess it?

A Ryanair
B Ferrovial
C Intercontinental Hotel Group


11. Sustainability and environmental impact are key areas which modern listed companies have to address in their public reports to investors. Some reports are more detailed than others. Can you guess which of the following appeared in company’s report during the year?

A “We experienced one escape incident in the third quarter, with a total loss of one fish” (Marine Harvest, the world’s  largest salmon farmer)
B “Harvesting was delayed in a section of the Uruguay plantations as the company re-established a nesting site for a pair of endangered Toco Toucans” (UPM-Kymmene, major manufacturer of forest products)
C. “The turbines to be installed offshore Vietnam  will have a slightly wider footprint in order to create a false reef and reduce the impact on the local marine biology” (Vestas Wind Stems, global manufacturer of wind turbines).


12, The official non-performing loan ratio (NPL) in the Chinese banking system is 1.5%. This figure has remained remarkably low even as Chinese lending growth has continued to increase and bank assets have risen to levels which are now comfortably the world’s largest. Many analysts believe though that liquidity to unprofitable and insolvent borrowers is simply being rolled and as such the “true” NPL ratio is estimated to be?

A 3.8%
B 8.2%
C 11.7%



1. B
2. C
3. B
4. C
5. C
6. A
7. C
8. C
9. B
10. A
11. A
12. C

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